Important Cash Register Features for Small Businesses

The cash register and point of sale (POS) systems are the heart of retail, restaurant, beauty businesses and more. Both devices let you process hundreds of transactions a day. Cash registers are generally less expensive and offer more basic functionality, whereas POS systems cost more but integrate more comprehensively with your back-office operations.

The technology for cash registers in 2021 allows for easy acceptance of all payments. Before you head on over to buy the latest cash register, you should become well-acquainted with the features that will support your business.

Is a cash register or POS system the best choice for your business? This will depend on your business style and size, the number of transactions you process, whether you’d like advanced functionality, and your budget.
Read on for more information about the features and benefits of cash registers and POS systems.

Retail Cash Register Basic Features

Retail stores, farmers markets, flea markets and craft fairs all need cash registers that feature receipt printing, an LCD screen, a keyboard, clerk IDs and bar code scanners.

  • Receipt printer
    Customers need receipts. It provides them with proof of purchase and allows you to keep track of every sale. A receipt printer lets you provide receipts in an efficient manner. There are many different types of receipt printers. If your business is on the move, you’ll need a mobile receipt printer. For traditional retail stores, a normal printer will suffice.

  • LCD Display Screen
    A display screen allows the customers to review the purchases that you are ringing up. It gives them confidence that they are not being overcharged.

  • Keyboard
    You will need to punch in the sales. A keyboard or touch screen allows you to enter the transactions and make any needed adjustments.

  • Clerk IDs
    Systems with multiple clerk IDs allow you to program different IDs with a name or description.

  • Bar Code Scanners
    Cash registers that integrate with bar code scanners are essential in 2021. Retail stores with many products use bar codes to track inventory and sales.

  • Custom Sales Tax
    Tax has to be added on in all retail locations. Each province has a different sales tax rate. Some POS systems allow an auto-detect feature to determine the location and pick up the sales tax rates based on GPS.

  • Cash and Cheque Transactions
    Electronic payments are becoming more and more prevalent. However, you still want to be able to record the cash and cheque transactions that come through. A POS cash register system from Square allows you to process cash and cheque transactions and keep them all in the same place.

  • Invoicing
    If you need to take custom orders and commissions, you need an invoicing feature. A POS cash register system allows you to send invoices directly from within the Register app. You can also send estimates, track payments, send reminders and accept online payments.

  • Discounts
    Customers love receiving discounts. Your cash register should be able to apply discounts to one or all items. Discounts should be calculated on orders before the tax is applied.

Square Register: Payments and point of sale, streamlined.

The first fully integrated POS terminal for any kind of business.

Restaurant Cash Register Basic Features

Restaurant cash registers can be a bit more complicated. They require communication with the kitchen and wait staff in addition to printing out receipts for sales and accepting payments.

The essentials that restaurant owners should seek in cash registers include a kitchen printer, automatic tax computation, the ability to connect to POS systems, electronic payment processing and touch screens. Let’s take a look at these features.

  • Kitchen Printer
    A POS cash register system integrates with a kitchen printer and makes sending the restaurant orders to the kitchen a snap.

  • Automatic Tax Computation
    To increase the speed of service, it is ideal to have your cash register automatically compute the tax on the restaurant bill.

  • Credit and Debit Processing
    Diners often come to restaurants and expect to pay with their credit or debit cards. The cash register that you choose should be able to support any payment method.

  • Cheque and Cash Payment Processing
    Many diners are still using cash and cheques when dining out. Make sure that these customers can still be served with a system that documents cash and cheque payments.

  • Heavy-Duty Cash Drawer
    A heavy-duty cash drawer is a basic feature that is needed for fast-food restaurants. It will allow you to make change for customers who pay in cash, and keep the money safe and secure.

A POS System vs. Traditional Cash Registers

Point of Sale (POS) cash register systems and traditional cash registers have many features in common. They both assist with the transaction. Both of them feature programmable item keys, price displays, receipt printers and credit card swipe slots. Both will ring up items and track sales. However, POS systems and traditional cash registers differ in many notable ways, including the following:

  • POS systems will help you analyze more data than the simple sale. They let you analyze your sales over different date ranges, categories and locations.

  • POS systems will provide inventory management that basic cash registers cannot. This can help you identify your hottest sellers or items that are duds and need removing. A standard POS report will provide this data.

  • Standard cash registers are much less expensive to buy. They tend to cost between $100 to $500. They also do not require any computer or networking equipment. For businesses that are strapped for cash and make simple transactions, a standard cash register is recommended.

  • POS systems provide you with unrivaled functionality. The tasks of ringing up customers and running basic reports on a POS are very similar to electronic cash registers.

  • For businesses that have multiple locations, a POS system is best. It allows you to get a complete picture of your business without visiting each location. POS systems offer online dashboards that combine the data from multiple stores.

How Does a POS Cash Register Work?

The modern POS cash registers are composed of two components: the hardware and the software. They work together to ensure that your business runs smoothly.

The hardware components of a POS system include the cash drawer, receipt printer, bar code scanner and more. POS cash register providers will often sell the hardware that works well with their POS software.

The software component will depend on the POS provider that you select. It will come with unique features that help your business operate well. For example, Square’s restaurant POS allows for new conversational ordering and pay-at-the-table features.

A POS cash register system also makes it easy to add a digital loyalty program. Loyalty programs encourage repeat business and increase sales.

Once you have decided between a traditional cash register or a POS cash register system, you need to consider on-premise systems and cloud-based systems.

On-Premise vs. Cloud-based Cash Registers

The hardware of your cash register will be in your store. The software can be cloud-based and accessible from multiple devices or installed with the retail cash register. This will limit access to the devices.

There are pros and cons to both choices. On-premise cash registers will often be a one-time purchase that may need future manual upgrades, while cloud-based services may have individual transaction fees or monthly fees. Let’s take a look at the different features of the two registers.

On-Premise Cash Register

  • An on-premise cash register is the most popular option for small businesses. It works with an internal network of servers to store and retrieve data. It is very similar to installing software on your personal computer and accessing it from the hard drive.

  • On-premise systems are an excellent choice because they work quickly without relying on an internet connection.

  • The biggest disadvantage with an on-premise cash register is that you are in charge of maintenance and upgrades. Sometimes these upgrades require a specialist. You’ll also only be able to access the data unless you are in front of your retail cash register.

Cloud-Based Cash Register

  • A cloud-based POS cash register allows you to take your business anywhere that has an internet connection. This is a great option for mobile businesses that serve farmer’s markets and trade shows. It is ideal for mobile businesses such as personal trainers, home repair specialists and private coaches.

  • The cloud-based POS option allows you to do business on any mobile device. The software is accessed from any smartphone, tablet or handheld device. Sales can be made when your employees are away from the store.

  • Cloud-based POS cash registers provide the business owner with inventory counts, labor usage percentages, productivity reports and daily totals remotely. The information can be instantly uploaded from wherever.

  • Cloud-based cash registers allow for decreased download time during updates. Managers do not have to spend precious time updating the system. It automatically updates in real time.

  • All the information in a cloud-based POS is organized. You can access the information from multiple locations at any time. It is the best option for those businesses with many locations.

  • A cloud-based POS doesn’t have to be concerned about losing data in the event of a power outage or hardware malfunction. All the data is stored in the cloud. Cloud-based services have encryption security measures to protect data from viruses and breaches.

As you can see, cash registers in 2021 include many great functions to help your business succeed, whether you run a restaurant or a record shop. They allow you to track inventory, communicate with staff, and take your business on the go.